The Ukraine Crisis
|Thekla Hritz||March 24th 2014|
President Barack Obamas said the United States and Europe are united in holding Russia to account for its actions in Crimea. "Europe and America are united in our support of the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people," he told reporters after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Amsterdam on March 24. "We are united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far."
Obama told the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant that his message to European leaders is that Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to "understand the economic and political consequences of his actions in Ukraine" but that "it's important that Ukraine have good relations with the United States, Russia, and Europe."
He averred that Europe is America's closest partner on the world stage and that it is the cornerstone of American engagement with the world. In speaking to de Volksrant, Obama also signalled that the world may pay an increasingly higher price as sanctions on Russia begin to kick in.
Obama will travel later on March 24 to The Hague for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and to attend a Nuclear Security Summit. He is then due to have a pow-wow with other leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrial nations -- Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Japan, and Britain -- to discuss their response to Russia's unrecognized annexation of Crimea. Later, he will make an official visit to Pope Francis at the Vatican before ending his multi-nation junket with a visit with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah.
During the rounds of summit talks, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are also expected to hold face-to-face talks on the Ukraine crisis on the sidelines of the nuclear summit in The Hague.
-- from agency reports.